Friday, July 31, 2015

Tip: Preventing Windows 10 from Using Your Bandwidth to Distribute Itself

When Microsoft releases a new version of Windows it can sometime take days or weeks before the users can receive the ability to get the update. This is because the company's servers are getting slammed from other people downloading it. This happened with the release of the Windows 8 and 8.1 OS because the popularity of the download, even though the OS was not that liked.

In the not too distant pass things were a great deal worse. For example, in the very, very early days of Microsoft they literally shipped it software on paper tape, which later was move to cassette tapes and then floppies. I remember installing a version of office that literally required 25 floppies and had 5 to 6 huge manuals. They eventually moved the distribution of their software to CDs then DVDs, these disk also started including digital versions of the manuals.

Windows Vista was the first version of the OS to utilize ESD (Electronic Software Distribution). I remember with Windows 8 they offered a $40 upgrade for the electronic version of it. It took forever to download, but it was cheaper than paying the full cost of the software. Then with the release of Windows 8.1 also being a free update to that took forever to download as well.

Stealing Ideas from Pirates
Microsoft has become an expert at understanding the piracy of its products. One of the main methods that pirates use to distribute its software over the Internet is a technology called ‘bit torrent’ (aka peer-to-peer networking). This software works by utilizing the distributed bandwidth of the people sharing the files to make it available to others. To assist with the distribution of Windows 10, the company is utilizing a technology that works similarly to bit torrent for the distribution of the OS and its updates. It utilizes the customer's extra bandwidth to share copies of Windows with others on the Internet so they can download the software faster.

Now this is great for people who live in an area where they might have unlimited bandwidth from their ISPs, or those who have ISPs that don't have restrictive data caps. Although recently ISPs seem to be charging more, and imposing more restrictive data caps on the connections. This is especially true with wireless Internet providers. This feature could be using up the user’s data cap limits without them knowing about it. To turn off this feature follow the steps below:

• Press WinKey + I and then click Update & security option. It’s also possible to search for 'Check for updates' utilizing the Cortana search bar next to the Start menu.
• Click on the 'Windows Update' option, and then choose 'Advanced options.'
• Under 'Choose how updates are installed' click 'Choose how updates are delivered.'
• Turn OFF the toggle switch under ‘Updates from more than one place.'

By disabling this feature, it will prevent the user’s computer from being used as a node in Microsoft’s peer-to-peer network for the distribution of Windows and its updates. Although, by disabling this option it also will prevent the user from receiving faster updates from this service. Which means they will have to rely on Microsoft slower servers for future upgrades. It’s worth noting that its possible to re-enable this feature at any time when future upgrades become available.